Best bang for the buck bagger motorcycle that not many know about!
My Honda F6B motorcycle
The Honda F6B motorcycle - a true bagger with performance!
After owning many motorcycles over the years, the idea of having a utility type bike IE practical that has good weather protection and lockable luggage, was my main consideration. I wanted something with style, and not as bulky as a full touring bike. The F6B is truly the one motorcycle that does everything well. If you are looking for a motorcycle that feels fast and can carry luggage, this is the bike you need to consider.
The F6B as we know it has been discontinued for 2018, however, there has been a motorcycle that Honda has been building since 2013, and it has been overlooked for whatever reason...marketing perhaps? Although I had seen this bike when it was introduced, I wasn't quite sure what to think about it until I was on a long cross country riding my Honda CTX 1300. While at the campground one evening, I heard some motorcycles pulling in, and noted everyone had a Harley Davidson jacket on when they entered the check in office. I decided to step outside and take a look at the bikes, and noted the F6B up close and personal for the first time.
The owner of the bike was a wealthy farmer who owned six motorcycles at the time, but LOVED his F6B. As I was taking a look at the bike, he introduced himself and started telling me about the bike. He had a few Harley touring bikes, but whenever he was going on an actual long cross country, he would take the F6B. In his opinion and his exact words were "this bike is the best touring motorcycle on the market, and it won't take long before everyone starts knowing what a great bike they are, and you will see them everywhere!". This was in the summer of 2015.
I sort of understood him, but wasn't convinced. After returning home, I purchased a new Victory Cross Country, and although it was a good bike, I couldn't get the turbulence from the fairing to be comfortable. I traded in my Victory Cross Country on November 2015 for a new Honda F6B and want to know my first impression? IT WAS AMAZING!
First, the handling was so superior to the "wobblers" like most big twins are with a heavy engine and weak frame. If you have ever driving a GL1800, they handle unbelievably despite being a big heavy motorcycle, the F6B being 62 lbs lighter and without the trunk, it feels so much lighter than the GoldWing 1800 that it truly is a different bike.
The second big difference is the wind protection from the full fairing, but when I had the F6B delivered, I had them put an aftermarket windshield on that meant no turbulence! I was in love, the 1,832 cc engine...112 cubic inches for comparison purposes, is a big six cylinder that has huge torque and puts out serious horsepower for being a completely stock motorcycle. Riding with other motorcycles from the 111 cu.in. Indian Thunderstroke, to the new 107 cu.in. Harley Milwaukee 8, the stock F6B will pull away without any problem at all. The only time they can keep even is if I am in a higher gear not expecting a roll on, it takes a second to pin the throttle, by then they have the momentum. Otherwise, the Honda 1,832 will own them!
So what makes the F6B such a special bike? The styling on the bike is actually very cool and stands up to the other bagger motorcycles on the market. The bike has the smooth refined qualities that Honda has always brought to the table, just smooth and refined. These bikes can typically go 200,000 miles without ANY problems if you do regular maintenance, and there are a few 300,000 mile GL1800's out there that have never had any engine work done to them at all.
My particular F6B was the first year to have electronic cruise control, which is a HAVE TO HAVE and not a WANT for my touring experience, so if you look for an F6B from 2013 to 2014...I wouldn't be in on that! It amazes me that Japanese motorcycle makes don't put electronic cruise control on more of their motorcycles, as I believe this is a deal breaker when it comes to selling new motorcycles. Bikes like the Kawasaki Concourse 1400 should have it, Honda should have it on their adventure bikes like the VFR1200X and Honda Transalp CFR1000.
The F6B just feels so much lighter than the GoldWing 1800, but retains the feel of the GoldWing. The fuel is under the seat, the engine/transmission are ankle high, and the frame is outstanding for stable handling. One benefit the bike has, and the new 2018 GoldWing series has, is that they can run on regular 86 octane fuel! Doesn't seem like such a big deal, but there are many times while riding, you have to search for premium fuel and I have had instances that I had to put 87 octane in my big V-twin only to hear it ping in stop and go traffic when the temperature was 90 degree F +. I knew it wasn't good!
My particular motorcycle has had a few modifications such as a drivers backrest, and handlebar risers to bring the bars closer to me. It has made the bike more comfortable on longer rides, but the drivers backrest - definitely has allowed longer rides in much more comfort. The motorcycle has a good radio, including a USB in the left trunk to put a thumb drive with hours and hours of music available. Including that, there is a phone connector in the left fairing that you can play music from your phone or other device using a music jack. It's functional, just not Bluetooth direct to helmet.
Fuel economy has been improving as the bike ages and more miles are put on, normally at 65 miles per hour 45 to 47 is typical, but once you click it over 75 miles per hour +, you will see 38 to 40 at best. With a 6.6 gallon fuel tank, a 200 mile leg is no problem at all plus reserves which for most people, that is about a three hour sitting which is plenty of time to ride before you WANT to get off the bike!
At 65 miles per hour the tach is approximately 3,000 rpm's, which is what we have complained about for so many years to Honda about, PLEASE give us a six speed, which they have and then some, a seven speed dual clutch! But, although the F6B is turning 3,000 rpm +, it is absolutely smooth power, so it doesn't really bother you much, other than you are just sitting on the bike going down the highway and your thoughts turn to the question - why not a six speed???
My F6B has been on several long cross country rides, including a 470 mile ride that 350 of those miles were in a complete downpour...not an occasional rainshower, but a continuous downpour! The bike can be loaded down and then some, and it doesn't seem to mind one bit at all. Performance and handling are still above average for touring bikes, and you can put big miles on the bike. If you have a passenger and a lot of luggage, just bump the pre-load up on the progressive pro-link shock, and you will still have a great ride and never feel it bottom out. Compare that to a Street Glide that has 2" of total travel, and you will quickly figure out the physics of having a long travel rear suspension.
Overall, the Honda F6B was an undersold motorcycle. It does everything well, for cruising and style, it fits. If you want to load it up for a weekend away it will accommodate that mission with ease. If you want to travel from coast to coast, the bike will absolutely do it better than just about any other motorcycle on the market!
As I write this, Honda has introduced the new for 2018 Goldwing. We ALL have been waiting for this, when I say all I mean Honda riders that wanted a new bike that had the modern electronics that Harley Davidson, BMW, and Indian motorcycle has introduced. Blue tooth built in, touch screen, electronic windshield, etc. It appears Honda GOT IT RIGHT!
© 2017 Mike Dempsey